Iron Age murder victim buried with his hands bound is discovered beside a 200ft-wide wooden circle in Buckinghamshire as archaeologists clear land for HS2

  • The grisly find was unearthed by experts at Wellwick Farm, outside Wendover
  • The site is being prepared for HS2’s Wendover Green Tunnel and North Cutting
  • Experts also unearthed an Iron Age ring, 1st Century coin and a Roman coffin 
  • The circle of wooden posts, meanwhile, is believed to have been ceremonial

An Iron Age murder victim buried with his hands bound has been found by a 200ft-wide wooden circle in Buckinghamshire by archaeologists clearing land for HS2.

The grisly discovery was made at Wellwick Farm, where land is being prepared for the Wendover Green Tunnel and North Cutting as part of the high-speed railway line.

Other finds from the site span from the Neolithic to the Medieval period — some 4,000 years — and include an Iron Age ring and a 1st Century gold British coin.

The wooden monument — a circle of posts around 213 feet (65 metres) in diameter — was aligned with the winter solstice, just like Stonehenge.

The find suggests that the land west of Wendover was persistently used for ceremonial activity, the project’s archaeologists said.

The exact age of the murder victim’s skeleton is not yet known, but experts said it must be at least 2,000 years old. 

The Iron Age murder victim buried with his hands bound was found by a 200ft-wide wooden circle in Buckinghamshire by archaeologists clearing land for HS2

The discovery was made at at Wellwick Farm, where land is being prepared for the Wendover Green Tunnel and North Cutting as part of the high-speed railway line. Pictured, the 213-feet-diameter circle of wooden posts that experts believe was used ceremonially

Other finds from the site span from the Neolithic to the Medieval period — some 4,000 years — and include an Iron Age ring and a 1st Century gold British coin, pictured

Project archaeologist Rachel Wood said: ‘We already knew that Buckinghamshire is rich in archaeology — but discovering a site showing human activity spanning 4,000 years came as a bit of a surprise to us.

‘The death of the Wellwick Farm man remains a mystery to us but there aren’t many ways you end up in a bottom of a ditch, face down, with your hands bound.’

However, she added: ‘We hope our osteologists will be able to shed more light on this potentially gruesome death.

‘The large wooden ceremonial structure, the Roman lead burial and the mystery of the skeleton at Wellwick Farm helps bring alive the fact that people lived, worked and died in this area long before we came along.’

Archaeologists believe that the Bronze and Iron Ages saw Wellwick Farm occupied — as they have identified traces of at least one roundhouse, along with structures that could be animal pens and pits used for the disposal of waste food.

In the Roman period, however, residents appear to have moved to the nearby town of Wendover — which still exists today — while the Wellwick Farm site was instead used for burials.

The team found a square enclosure containing a skeleton buried in a lead-lined coffin — an expensive form of interment that indicates the remains must have belonged to an individual of considerable status. 

‘Before we build the low-carbon, high-speed railway between London and Birmingham, we are uncovering a wealth of archaeology that will enrich our cultural heritage,’ said HS2 lead archaeologist Mike Court.

‘Our discoveries will be shared with communities and the public through virtual lectures, open days and in an upcoming BBC archaeology documentary.

‘The sheer scale of possible discoveries, the geographical span and the vast range of our history to be unearthed makes HS2’s archaeology programme a unique opportunity to tell the story of Buckinghamshire and Britain.’

‘We already knew that Buckinghamshire is rich in archaeology — but discovering a site showing human activity spanning 4,000 years came as a bit of a surprise to us,’ said project archaeologist Rachel Wood. Pictured, archaeologists stand on the outline of a horse shoe -shaped funerary enclosure believe to date back to the Iron Age

‘Before we build the low-carbon, high-speed railway between London and Birmingham, we are uncovering a wealth of archaeology that will enrich our cultural heritage,’ said HS2 lead archaeologist Mike Court. Pictured, an Iron Age ring found at the Wellwick Farm site

The discoveries were made at Wellwick Farm, where land is being prepared for the Wendover Green Tunnel and North Cutting as part of the high-speed railway line

HS2 WILL LINK LONDON, THE WEST MIDLANDS, LEEDS AND MANCHESTER

HS2 (High Speed 2) is a plan to construct a a new high-speed rail linking London, West Midlands, Leeds and Manchester.

The line is to be built in a ‘Y’ configuration.  London will be on the bottom of the ‘Y’, Birmingham at the centre, Leeds at the top right and Manchester at the top left. 

Work on Phase One began in 2017 and the government plans envisage the line being operational by 2026. 

The HS2 project is being developed by High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd. 

The project has a projected cost of £56 billion ($77 billion), up from the initial cost of £32.7 billion ($45 billion) in 2010. 

Last year’s annual report showed that the company established by the government to build the railway spent £500 million in the year to March 31 – up almost 30 per cent from £352.9 million the year before.

It takes the total amount spent by HS2 so far to more than £1.9billion since 2009.

Separate accounts published by the Department for Transport also showed it had spent another £366 million on HS2.

The bulk of this was on compensating individuals and businesses who own property and land near the planned line.

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